Wednesday, 2 March 2016

interview with michael steinberg, founder of

part of what originally inspired me to start the #foundfootageblogathon was discovering the website, which currently lists over 450 titles in its database.

it was through this database that i discovered many of the films i reviewed for this blog, so i thought there could be no better way to round off the #foundfootageblogathon than by interviewing the founder of, michael steinberg. michael clearly has much more knowledge on the subject than i do so it was really interesting to get his thoughts on the found footage format and hear about his favourite films. here's the interview -

when did you first become interested in found footage films?

The first found footage film I had the privilege of seeing was Blair Witch, which I caught in the theater during its initial theatrical release. Since then, I’ve always had an affinity for the genre, gravitating towards like-minded fictional films.

how did your website found footage critic develop?

A little over a year ago I was scouring the Internet for found footage film titles and came up surprisingly short. Most of the sites that I discovered were nothing more than blog articles listing the author’s “top-10” found footage films for different categories. When it came down to it, all of the sites I came across contained the same 20 or 30 found footage films. This was the defining moment when I decided to create a definitive online resource and community for found footage film fans to learn more about the genre they love so much.

how do you find new films for the website?

When I first started this endeavor, I searched the Internet for titles and developed a master spreadsheet containing my findings. Before entering the titles into Found Footage Critic, I carefully scrutinized each film, making sure it really fell in the realm of found footage. The site contains a  concise definition for found footage which all films are measured against:

My original search for films yielded approximately 70-90 titles, and at the time I was sure there couldn’t be that many more. Over the months that followed, that list incrementally grew to over 800 films! A few hundred of those 800 titles failed to meet my criteria for “found footage,” and were excluded from the site. If we remove the 470 films currently covered by, that leaves about 150 titles remaining to be vetted and entered into the site along with new titles that surface on a weekly basis.

The popularity of Found Footage Critic has been growing rapidly within the horror film industry and global fan-base with each passing month.  The site’s evolution has reached the point where filmmakers proactively approach us on a weekly basis with new found footage titles that are in development and screeners for review – eliminating much of the need to excavate the Internet for new titles. And of course, every now and then fans come to us with new titles they’ve come across that we may have overlooked.

is there anything in particular that you like about the found footage format? e.g. is there anything that filmmakers can do more effectively in a found footage film than in a narratively shot film?

Although I know I’m watching works of fiction, for me, the draw of found footage films is the possibility that what I’m watching may have actually taken place. There’s something about that gritty realism that draws me into the story.

there are a few found footage cliches that i really can't stand, like when the characters say 'why are you still filming this?' more than once. are there any cliches that you see found footage filmmakers including over and over again?

The film reviews on Found Footage Critic are structured to measure and rate each film by the technical correctness of its found footage. The “technical” factors we examine include: found footage purity, filming reason, cinematography, and acting. These are explained in greater detail on our site.

Some of the more common tropes used by filmmakers that hurt the technical correctness of found footage include: the infinite battery life; adding extensive scenes where the characters argue amongst each other to extend the film to “feature length”; adding the camera user interface (battery icons, etc.) that don’t record into the film; inclusion of incidental music; outdoor audio that’s too clean because the character’s are equipped with personal microphones; and unrealistic cinematography.  These tropes are further defined on our site here:

what are your personal favourite found footage movies?

The McPherson Tape and Unaware are two of my favorite films, and I’m discovering “new” favorites every day. Every found footage film we come across is unique in its own right and has something special that contributes to the genre.


thanks very much to michael steinberg for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog. you should definitely check out, it's an excellent resource and a fantastic way to find new titles. in addition, michael has just recently added a streaming service to the site, as explained here -

NEW YORK, New York – February 22, 2016 – Found Footage Critic today announced the launch of a new online movie rental streaming service dedicated to feature length found footage horror films. The new service is integrated in, so visitors browsing found footage films can rent and watch films without leaving the site.

Found Footage Critic is now calling out to filmmakers to submit their feature length found footage films for inclusion in the new service, and is offering filmmakers non-exclusive licensing agreements and a share of the rental fees.

For its launch, Found Footage Critic is offering seven found footage titles from the United States, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, and is currently in negotiations with filmmakers and distributors for additional titles in the coming days/weeks.

The initial list of titles for 24-hour rental include a new found footage horror release from the United States, Home Video (2016); the acclaimed Hungarian found footage horror thriller Bodom (2014), and five films from UK director Paul TT Easter, most notably Black Shuck (2012) and U Mugs (2012).


i plan to check out some of the films available to stream on over the next few weeks and will post my thoughts here. i'll also be posting a round-up of my thoughts on the found footage format some point very soon.

the found footage blogathon is just about finished, but there's a full list of the films i watched with links to reviews here.

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